Cover Image: What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

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What a hook this beautiful book has! Almost a decade after Ruthy Ramirez goes missing from her Puerto Rican neighborhood in Staten Island, her sisters spot her on an early 2000s late night reality show called Catfight. Well, they think it's her. She has the same beauty mark, she has the same laugh, and though she says she's from Brooklyn, all they have to go on is that this is their sister because they don't have any other answers.

Told in multiple POVs, via both sisters, their mother Delores, and Ruthy (on the day she disappears), the book is a quick, funny, and heartbreaking story of a family that tries to stick together despite all the odds being against them. I especially loved Jessica, the oldest sister. Dealing with a newborn, an un-fun job as a nurse's assistant, and the fact that she spots Ruthy first on the show, she is hard-headed but full of heart. I really enjoyed this book and I think you will too.

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DNF at 20%. This is 100% a character book. There is no plot, there are just people. It reads like a script for a sitcom I would skip past while channel surfing. If you are in the mood for meeting some new people with stressful lives, pick this up. For me, it's a hard pass.

**Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the eARC**

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What a debut! I’ll admit going in with the expectation of hilarious, I wasn’t set up for the humor that is actually used. Maybe a cultural difference? Either way- that’s a me problem but I’d recommend adjusting your expectation away from standard cheery comedy you’d find in say a rom-com.

The entire premise grabbed my attention and throughout I was just as dedicated in finding out what happened to Ruthy. This is a story on family, grief, and identity. With each POV, readers are able to have a deeper understanding and a relationship with each of the characters. The ending was wayyyy against everything I could’ve expected. I expected a twist, I prepped for one, but my hunch on what happened was no where near what takes place.

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Thank you gran central pub and netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. This was my bookclub's book of the month for April. As the crime junkie, the title alone got me hooked. I was on the edge of my seat and tried guessing before reading on, and sometimes I would be right, but I was really thrown off at times.

I have seen a lot of reviews complaining of the cuss words, and I don't know why. I am a cusser IRL, so that just didn't bother me. The story crosses different generations and timelines, showing how one event changes a family forever.

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I enjoyed every bit of this family drama! Told in alternating chapters I enjoyed everyone's perspective, but especially the mother's. As a New Yorican myself everything was so perfect. I laughed out loud several times and if I had one critique it would be that I wanted it to be a little longer.

Latinos, you should definitely read this one!

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*ARC was provided by Grand Central Publishing through Netgalley.

This just didn't work for me - I had a lot of trouble telling the three narrators apart when they had very similar voices and got them pretty confused early on. I also wasn't invested in Ruthy's disappearance, and I wish the road trip to find her didn't take place so late in the book. It's practically at the end and the story really could have benefited from being longer.

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I'm over here about to cry.

I finished this book in two sittings. It's hard to pinpoint a genre: part family drama, part mystery, with a touch of absurdist comedy. I was surprised to read it's the author's first novel.

I think it was an unusual and exciting choice to use multiple narrators in a mystery (-ish) novel. The voices were distinct yet obviously related. I loved the female perspective (shocker) and the points Jimenez makes about living in the world as a woman of color.

There were some very dark moments toward the end (check warnings if you have triggers), but I thought they were dealt with respectfully. Nothing graphic described.

Spoilers ahead, you've been warned: the "brawl" segment felt slightly too ridiculous. I think there could have been more of an emotional punch (no pun intended) if the comedy had been reined in a tad. It's the only criticism I have and it's a tiny one. I really loved reading this book. It made me feel a lot of things about being a girl and woman and the everyday danger we're out in and will the world even care if that danger wins out?

Thanks to Jimenez, the publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.

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What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez was a warm and funny story about family. There are plenty of serious subject matters here, but the author perfectly blends the heavier topics with the funny moments. I listened to the first half of this via audiobook (narrated by the author!) and it really helped to get me invested in the story.

Teenager Ruthy Ramirez disappears after school one day and is never heard from again. Nobody is sure if she has run away or if she's been abducted. Several years later, her sister Nina returns home to help take care of her mother. Sister Jessica has a new baby and a job as a nurse. One late night the sisters discover the reality show Catfight and notice one of the girls involved looks a lot like Ruthy - from the hair down to a distinguishing beauty mark. Together they hatch a plan to find Ruthy and bring her back home.

I really liked this book and the dynamic between Jessica, Nina and Dolores all seemed very authentic. If you have a close relationship with your mother and sister this book will definitely hit close to home. The squabbles and teasing had me laughing and it seemed too familiar at times.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for a review copy.

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What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez was beyond an amazing read. I was deeply engrossed in the plot and the characters--the author did a great job with the character development--and there were so many moments that were emotionally impactful and touching. I would definitely recommend this read to others.

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I absolutely adored this story.

I was expecting something a little bit different, but I think what we got was better than the direction I expected.
The writing is funny and raw, and feels like someone who actually knows what a new yorker sounds like. Excellent voice.

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Oh my heart. Ruthy Ramirez story just broke it into pieces. Grab the hankies because you will definitely need them while reading this. I want to start saying that even though I am born and raised in Puerto Rico I do have family in NY and the Ramirez family definitely resembles puertorricans living in NY or “niuyoricans”. The story was gut wrenching but I rooted for a happy ending all the way until the end (even thought heart knew how it was ending) specially for Jessica, Nina and Dolores. Very well done,

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Thank you for the opportunity to read this novel. It's not the right novel for me at this time and I hope to pick it up again sometime in the future.

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Twelve years ago, 13-year-old Ruthy Ramirez disappeared after track practice one day, never to be seen again. Left in the black hole where there is “no such thing now as a map” are the women in Ruthy's family, who never get over her loss.

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Such a compelling read, many CWs for sexual assault, pedophilia, physical abuse. Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for an ARC!

This is not only the story of the Ramirez’s search for their missing sister but of the violence and harassment that each woman in the family has faced and beyond that, of the wider societal issue of violence against women, especially women of colour. It’s a sad and upsetting read, but also one of the incredible love of this family, their fights and making up, and their hilarious humour.

There was some questionable fatphobic portrayal so a heads up for that. The comments that focused on one character’s weight and diets in relation to their grief felt unnecessary to the story.

I really enjoyed this story while also feeling the visceral grief of this family and other women who’ve been in this position. A great read to start off my year.

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What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez

This has been one of my most surprising reads of the year, it was nothing like what I expected it to be. The debut novel is unique, captivating, and an ode for all the girls of color who go missing.

The story follows a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island still grappling after the disappearance of Ruthy Ramirez twelve years ago. One day Ruthy, the middle sister, doesn’t return home after track practice and a family is left to grief without answers, move forward with no direction, and live. Claire Jimenez gives us a microscope into the lives of those impacted when one of our girls is taken and we exist in a system to designed to fail them.

One night, sisters Jessica and Nina see a woman on a messy reality tv show that they believe could be Ruthy. When their mother, Dolores finds out about their suspicions, she insists on going with them on a road trip to find this possible Ruthy. From the outside, it must look like the Ramirez women should be okay and have been able to move in. Oldest sister Jessica has her own family, but is holding on to secrets that haunt her. Nina, the youngest graduates college, but grew up in the shadow of a missing sister. Their mother, Dolores, has found a community in church, but no real place to hold her grief.

In the juxtaposing stories of the women in the book, from the Ramirez family to friends to reality tv stars, we see how women are judged for their survival but not the system that puts them in danger every day. This is a call for the resources and support to respond to childhood survivors of abuse, to take the missing lives of black and brown girls seriously, and to remember that survival is complex and can many times look messy.

What Happened To Ruthy Ramírez is a character driven story on the themes of sisterhood, generational trauma, survival, guilt, resentment, and family love.

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Thank you Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for this arc. In this story, a teenage disappears and years later, the family thinks they see the see the missing teenager on a reality show. Is this really her? Can they save her? Does she need savings? This book tells the story of her disappearance and how it effects her family. It is sad and raw and very interesting.

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✨ Review ✨ What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez

I started this as an ebook and enjoyed it but didn't get hooked -- then I restarted it in audio and was OBSESSED. I listened to the whole book in one evening! The author narrates the book and I loved it -- she really brought each and every one of the four characters to life.

This book is told through the eyes of the women in the Ramirez family -- the mom Dolores, the daughters Jessica and Nina, and Ruthy who went missing after school when she was 13. Years later, the women think they find Ruthy as a contestant on a reality show called Cat Fight. The book alternates through the first three women's points of view in the present and Ruthy's POV from the day she went missing.

The book seamlessly blends laugh-out-loud humor with grief, loss, and trauma. The book brings light to important issues alongside really clever writing. I'm so glad I went back to this book and please, please check out the audio.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre: Literary Fiction
Setting: NYC
Reminds me of: the audio especially reminded me of Angie Cruz's How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, especially for the blend of humor and serious issues

Read this if you like:
⭕️ multi-generational family dramas
⭕️ humor + grief + serious issues
⭕️ amazing audio
⭕️ Cat Fights

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy of this book!

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What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a phenomenal thriller from start to finish. Filled to the brim with twists and a captivating plot, this one is sure to keep readers hooked. The characters are well-developed. The story is incredibly fast-paced. This is one not to be missed! Highly recommended! Be sure to check out What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez asap.

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When I first read the summary of Claire Jiménez's What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez, I assumed it would be a fast-paced mystery of sorts. Unfortunately, this was not a fast-paced mystery, even though I felt driven to learn what happened to missing 13-year-old Ruthy Ramirez. The book begins and ends strongly, and I was totally engaged at times. However, if I'm being completely honest, while the characters were always intriguing, the plot was not. Overall, I enjoyed the book and rated it three out of five stars.

The characters in What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez were well-developed and skillfully portrayed, allowing me to imagine them clearly as I read. In particular, Nina, Jessica, and Delores had distinct voices that brought each woman to life for me; at times, I felt as though I were reading a journal rather than a fictional novel. The cursing/foul language appeared to be a problem for others, based on early reviews I read, but I found it to be completely natural and not irritating in the least. In my opinion, it made the characters feel more genuine. (However, this sort of language has never bothered me, so keep that in mind if you're considering reading this book.)

My problems with What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez stemmed primarily from the book's middle. It didn't bother me to learn I wasn't reading a mystery but rather a novel about a broken family who unexpectedly discovers their sister/daughter may be alive and well. The story focuses on the women's lives and relationships with each other. However, I rated the book three out of five stars because a significant portion of it was unfocused, and, as a reader, I lost the plot.

Since my issues with What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez stemmed from the story rather than the writing, I would read another book by Claire Jiménez without hesitation. This was my first time reading the author, and as I mentioned, I thought her character development and tone were excellent. However, I'm still undecided about recommending this book to others. Did I enjoy it overall? Yes. Are there other books that I would recommend before this one? Yes.

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This book was a story that needed to be told. I enjoyed it. I also didn’t care about the curse words. It made the story and set a realistic tone of the area it’s set in.

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